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TRIBUTE Daphne, my friend She is hated by people who didn’t know her. She is also hugely admired by people she didn’t know. Prof. Clare Vassallo shares a deeply personal tribute to world-renowned murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

D

ehumanised, stripped of love and

5, we forged a tight group of school

read in them. Stories, travel, puzzles,

laughter, a face, a name, a symbol

friends at St Dorothy’s School in Depiro

quizzes — there were Ballet Annuals

held up high and made to stand for

Street, Sliema. Friends who all lived

too, and all other sorts. Eventually we

various battles — my childhood friend

within walking distance of the school

moved on to Jackie and Pink. When we

is being transformed into a sign, a

and from each others’ houses. Simone,

were about nine years old, we were

thing that stands for something else.

Iona, Gladys, Stephanie, Doreen, Carole

allowed to walk down to the Ferries

For me, she is someone real who

and Clare (always said in the same

together on Saturday mornings to

I knew and who I miss. Someone

breath so people often didn’t know

buy them from Morris or Manche’s

whose voice still rings in my ear with

who was who — and some still don’t),

stationaries on Tower Road. We’d

the odd funny and clever comment.

and Daphne. We started a book club.

meet at the top of Cathedral Street

By the age of seven we were all avid

near Stella Maris Church and walk

when I first met her at school in

readers of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven

down together. Sometimes we’d

Infants A at age 3, was my first

and The Famous Five adventures, as

go on to Allies Bar for a Coke and a

school friend. We were tiny then,

well as many other authors such as

cheesecake. Francis Ebejer was often

standing against the wall in the large,

L. M. Alcott. We pooled our books so

there, sitting on those dark curved

loud ‘double-room’ full of children

we could all share them. Sometimes

wooden chairs outside in the sun.

taller than us, busy running around,

we kept them in Daphne’s bedroom,

This is Daphne as I remember her.

shouting and playing, overpowering

probably because she was President

The girl who was funny, clever, witty,

us. She was always tall and very

of our club (and I was Vice President).

and perhaps not so wise — since

Daphne Vella, as she was known

slim, with straight dark hair tied in bunches, as was my lighter wavy hair.

TRIBUTE

In Infants A and all the way to Junior

14

We liked our comics too. And the

she seemed to have a knack, as she

special Annuals that came out at

grew older, of upsetting most of her

Christmas — there was so much to

teachers and anyone in authority. But

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